Many people have heard the broad non-medical term, Clinical Depression, used when Depression or “negative feelings” disrupt our functioning for a significant chunk of time, and in a characteristic way. Major Depression is the most studied and clearly described type of Clinical Depression and most other depressions are just a variant of it. Let me describe and define these clinical depressions.
How Depression is Diagnosed
Currently, no medical test exists to diagnose depression – although we are getting closer – but instead, Major Depression is diagnosed when the criteria listed in A, B, and C exist at the same time:
- Having 5 of the following 9 symptoms nearly every day for at least 2 consecutive weeks with one of the symptoms being #1 or #2.
- Depressed mood, sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness most of the day, indicated by your own or other’s subjective report.
- Apathy or markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day.
- Significant weight gain or loss.
- Inability to sleep or oversleeping.
- Physical agitation or slowing.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
- Diminished thinking, concentration, or decision-making.
- Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation, a suicide attempt or a specific suicide plan.
- Symptoms cause marked distress and/or significant impairment in various areas of daily functioning/responsibility.
- Symptoms aren’t from a medical problem, medications, alcohol/drug use, or other psychiatric disorders.
Examples from the Bible of Depression
Various Biblical characters, like Saul, Jonah, David, Elijah, Solomon, and Jeremiah struggled with depression. While these people lived in a time before psychiatrists or diagnosed mental health disorders, we read in the pages of Scripture the very real battle individuals like the ones listed above faced with their emotions.
Read more about these men in the following Scripture passages:
Saul – I Samuel 16:14-23: An evil spirit from the Lord tormented Saul.
Jonah – Jonah 4:1-10: Jonah asked God to take his life because he didn’t want to live anymore.
David – Psalm 38: David talks about sighing and mourning all day long. Also Psalms 42 and 43, which may have been written by David talk about a “downcast soul.”
Jeremiah – Jeremiah 20:7-18: Jeremiah complains that he was ridiculed and mocked. “Cursed be the day I was born!”
Elijah – 1 Kings 19:4: “I have had enough, Lord,” Elijah said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
Hope, Peace, and Joy are Real and Available for You
If you are experiencing symptoms of clinical depression, you are certainly not alone. People throughout the ages (including those in Bible times) have struggled with depression, as do billions around the world. Depression is damaging and can be deadly, so please don’t hesitate to get professional help from your doctor, a therapist, or psychiatrist.
The good news is that depression is successfully treated and many are cured on a daily basis. Prescription antidepressant medication will alleviate the symptoms of depression and allow you to concentrate, think, and develop the spiritual and psychological skills which renew and heal you and free you from the grip of depression.
Isaiah 61:1 tells us Jesus came to heal the broken hearted and set the captives free, to comfort all who mourn, and give an oil of gladness instead of mourning.
You don’t have to stay trapped; make the call today 844-LifeChange (543-3242) to access the healing and peace God gives through Jesus so you can live the abundant life and achieve your God-given potential.